Share This Article:

Exploring Second Life as a Learning Environment for Computer Programming

Full-Text HTML Download Download as PDF (Size:312KB) PP. 53-62
DOI: 10.4236/ce.2014.51010    4,289 Downloads   5,763 Views   Citations


Computer programming can be challenging for beginners because of the need to understand abstract programming concepts. In this paper, we study the use of the Second Life (SL) virtual world for learning computer programming concepts. We conduct an empirical study for learning computer programming in SL by addressing affordances of SL for experiential problem-based learning pedagogies. We present preliminary findings, the promises and the limitations of Second Life as an environment for learning computer programming.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Sajjanhar, A. & Faulkner, J. (2014). Exploring Second Life as a Learning Environment for Computer Programming. Creative Education, 5, 53-62. doi: 10.4236/ce.2014.51010.


[1] Adams, D. A., Nelson, R. R., & Todd, P. A. (1992). Perceived usefulness, ease of use and usage of information technology: A replication. MIS Quarterly, 16, 227-247.
[2] Ben-Bassat Levy, R., Ben-Ari, M., & Uronen, P. A. (2003). The Jeliot 2000 program animation system. Computers & Education, 40, 1-15.
[3] Boulos, M. N. K., Hetherington, L. & Wheeler, S. (2007). Second Life: an overview of the potential of 3-D virtual worlds in medical and health education, Health Information & Libraries Journal, 24, 233245.
[4] Britzman, D. (2003). Practice makes practice: A critical study of learning to teach. New York State University: New York Press.
[5] Carlisle, M. C., Wilson, T. A., Humphries, J. W., & Hadfield, S. M. (2005). RAPTOR: A visual programming environment for teaching algorithmic problem solving. ACM SIGCSE Bulletin, 37, 176-180.
[6] Carmines, E. G., & Zeller, R. A. (1979). Reliability and validity assessment. Sage University Paper 17. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications.
[7] Casamayor, A., Amandi, A., & Campo, M. (2009). Intelligent assistance for teachers in collaborative e-learning environments. Computers & Education, 53, 1147-1154.
[8] Chau, P. Y. K. (1996). An empirical assessment of a modified technology acceptance model. Journal of Management Information Systems, 13, 185-204.
[9] Chen, M.-P., Chiu, C.-H., & Wu C.-C. (2010). Instructional simulations for teaching high school computer science concepts: A technology acceptance perspective. IEEE International Conference on Digital Game and Intelligent Toy Enhanced Learning, 216-218.
[10] Dalgarno, B., Lee, M. J. W., Carlson, L, Gregory, S., & Tynan, B. (2010). 3D immersive virtual worlds in higher education: An Australian and New Zealand scoping study. Ascilite Sydney, 269-280.
[11] Dann, W., Cooper, S., & Pausch, R. (2000). Making the connection: programming with animated small world. ACM SIGCSE Bulletin, 32, 41-44.
[12] Davis, F. D. (1989). Perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, and user acceptance of information technology, MIS Quarterly, 13, 319340.
[13] Dickey, M. D. (2003). Teaching in 3D: Pedagogical affordances and constraints of 3D virtual worlds for synchronous distance learning. Distance education, 24, 105-121.
[14] Duch, B. J. (2001). Models for problem-based instruction in undergraduate courses. The Power of Problem-Based Learning, 39-46.
[15] Esteves, M., Fonseca, B., Morgado, L., & Martins, P. (2009). Using second life for problem based learning in computer science programming. Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, 2, 3-25.
[16] Fishbein, M., & Ajzen, I. (1975). Belief, attitude, intention, and behavior: An introduction to theory and research. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.
[17] Guzdial, M., Kolodner, J. L., Hmelo, C., Narayanan, H., Carlson, D., Rappin, N., Hübscher, R., Turns, J., & Newstetter, W. (1996). Computer support for learning through complex problem-solving. Communications of the ACM, 39, 43-45.
[18] Girvan, C., & Savage, T. (2010). Identifying an appropriate pedagogy for virtual worlds: A communal constructivism case study. Computers & Education.
[19] Girvan, C., Tangney, B., & Savage, T. (2013). SLurtles: Supporting constructionist learning in Second Life. Computers & Education, 61, 115-132.
[20] Hadjerrouit, S. (2008). Towards a blended learning model for teaching and learning computer programming: A Case Study. Informatics in Education, 7, 181-210.
[21] Henderson, L., Grant, S., Henderson, M., & Huang, H. (2010). University students’ cognitive engagement while learning in a Virtual World. Australian Computers in Education Conference, 6-9 April, Melbourne.
[22] Hwang, W.-Y., Wang, C., Hwang, G.-J., Huang, Y.-M., & Huang, S. (2008). A web-based programming learning environment to support cognitive development. Interacting with Computers, 20, 524-534.
[23] Jenkins, T. (2001). The motivation of students of programming. Proceedings of ITiCSE 2001: The 6th Annual Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education (pp. 53-56). New York: ACM.
[24] Journal of Virtual Worlds Research (2009). Pedagogy, education and innovation in Virtual Worlds.
[25] Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
[26] Kolling, M., Quig, B., Patterson, A., & Rosenberg, J. (2003). The BlueJ system and its pedagogy. Computer Science Education, 13, 249-268.
[27] Kern, N. (2009). Starting a Second Life.
[28] Lister, R., & Leaney, J. (2003). First year programming: Let all the flowers bloom. Proceedings of the Fifth Australasian Conference on Computing Education (pp. 221-230). Adelaide.
[29] Mathieson, K. (1991). Predicting use intentions: Comparing the technology acceptance model with the theory of planned behaviour. Information Systems Research, 2, 173-191.
[30] Menchaca, R., Balladares, L., Quintero, R., & Carreto, C. (2005). Software engineering, HCI techniques and Java technologies joined to develop web-based 3D-collaborative virtual environments. Proceedings of the 2005 Latin American conference on Human-computer interaction (pp. 40-51). New York, NY: ACM Press.
[31] Miliszewska, I., & Tan, G. (2007). Befriending computer programming: a proposed approach to teaching introductory programming. Journal of Issues in Informing Science & Information Technology, 4, 277289.
[32] Newman, D., Griffin, P., & Cole, M. (1989). The construction zone: Working for cognitive change in school. New York: Cambridge University Press.
[33] Novak, T. P. (2010). eLab city: A platform for academic research on virtual worlds. Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, 3.
[34] Record voice chat and sounds. (2012).
[35] Robins, A., et al. (2003). Learning and teaching programming: A review and discussion. Computer Science Education. 13, 137-172.
[36] Rosenbaum, E. (2008). Scratch for second life. Proceedings of the International Conference of the Learning Sciences-ICLS, Utrecht, The Netherlands: ICLS., 144-152.
[37] Sajjanhar, A. (2012). Virtual worlds for student engagement. Creative Education, 3, 796-801.
[38] Savery, J. R. (2006). Overview of problem-based learning: Definitions and distinctions. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-based Learning, 1, 9-20.
[39] Second life bot. (2012).
[40] Sloane, K., & Linn, M. C. (1988). Instructional conditions in Pascal programming classes. In R. Mayer (Ed.), Teaching and learning computer programming: Multiple research perspectives (pp. 207-235). Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
[41] Stamouli, I., Doyle, E., & Huggard, M. (2004). Establishing structured support for programming students. 34th Annual Conference on Frontiers in Education, 2, F2G 5-9.
[42] Torp, L., & Sage, S. (2002). Problems as possibilities: Problem-based learning for K-16 education (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
[43] Warburton, W. (2009). Second Life in higher education: Assessing the potential for and the barriers to deploying virtual worlds in learning and teaching. British Journal of Educational Technology, 40, 414-426.
[44] Wrzesien, M., & Raya, M. A. (2010). Learning in serious virtual worlds: Evaluation of learning effectiveness and appeal to students in the EJunior project. Computers & Education, 55, 178-187.

comments powered by Disqus

Copyright © 2018 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.